Color Spotlight: Perylene Maroon (PR179)

Da Vinci – Perylene Maroon

Perylene Maroon sits somewhere between crimson and earth red, a deep red with a brownish cast; sort of brick-colored. Many artists find it useful to dull greens and blues to make them more realistic landscape tones. I became interested in Perylene Maroon after watching Denise from In Liquid Color paint a pigeon using shades of gray from a mix of Perylene Maroon and Cerulean.

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What’s the difference between Goethite Brown Oxide (PY43) and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7)?

Jane Blundell’s Ultimate Mixing Palette includes the highly granulating ochre Goethite Brown Oxide (PY43), with Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7) listed as an alternative. But what’s the difference between these two colors?

DS Goethite (PY43) vs. DS Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7) on Stilman & Birn Beta

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Color Spotlight: Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19)

Traditionally, Alizarin Crimson is made from pigment PR83, which is falling out of favor because it is not lightfast. Different companies have different solutions to this, offering colors with names like “Permanent Alizarin Crimson” made from various mixes of lightfast reds. Some artists also mix their own (a popular recipe is Perylene Maroon + Quin … Read more

All of Handprint’s Top 40 Pigments

Written in the late 90s/early 00s, Bruce MacEvoy’s handprint.com is still an invaluable resource for information about watercolor pigments. In his watercolor guide, MacEvoy has listed every color available from major brands at the time – and since watercolor catalogues don’t change that frequently, they’re still pretty much accurate, with the occasional missing pigment, review … Read more

What’s the difference between Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)?

Getting from PBGS to PBRS

Phthalocyanine blue (PB15) is an incredibly intense, staining, transparent, non-granulating, lightfast pigment that comes in two versions:

  • Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB15:3)
  • Phthalo Blue Red Shade (PB15:6 or PB15:1)

(I’ll call them GS and RS in this post.)

What’s the difference, and which should you choose?

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Color Spotlight: Quinacridone Coral (PR209)

I just love this unique color. It’s a warm pinky red, yellow-toned, but not in orangey way. It truly is coral. It reminds of a cherry Italian soda. It’s a great color for flowers, the inside of a strawberry, and coral of course! Experiment Results Gradient: Bold gradient from a deep, juicy orange-red to pale … Read more

What’s the difference between Quinacridone Rose (PV19) and Quinacridone Magenta (PR122)?

SH Purple Magenta vs DS Quin Rose: mixing oranges with Pure Yellow vs. mixing purples with PGBS.

Sometimes two colors you like are so similar that it seems silly to have them both on your palette, but how do you choose which one to use? It’s like that for me with Quinacridone Rose (a pink made from the pigment PV19) and the color that I usually call Purple Magenta (PR122), which is also known as Quinacridone Lilac (in Daniel Smith) or Quinacridone Magenta (in Holbein and some other brands).

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Color Spotlight: Viridian (PG18)

The traditional Viridian pigment, PG18, is one of those classic older chemical pigments invented in the 19th century, around the same time as the cadmiums and chromiums. The name is based on the Latin name veridis, meaning green. This is a granulating cool (blue-toned) green shade. It tends to be low-tinting strength and very liftable. … Read more

The Brightest Neon Watercolors I Could Find

Neon color mixes
Neon color mixes. The top row is Opera Pink; each column adds more and more of another color: Lemon Yellow, Ultramarine, and Cobalt Turquoise. Bottom right shows the mix of Lemon Yellow and Cobalt Turquoise making an electric mint.

I have a fondness for extreme bright neons, Lisa Frank style – the brighter the better! (This post is an antidote to my last post about grays.) One of my watercolor goals was to find a primary triad that was as bright and neon as possible.

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Mixing Gray in Watercolor

Modern Primary Mix

Theoretically, if you mix a color with its complement (opposite on the color wheel), you should get a neutral gray/black. For example:

  • Red + Green
  • Orange + Blue
  • Yellow + Purple

If the color is biased one way or the other, you’d expect the complement to be biased the other way. For example:

  • Orangey-Red + Bluish-Green, or Purpley-Red + Yellowish-Green
  • Reddish-Orange + Greenish-Blue, or Yellowish-Orange + Purpley-Blue
  • Orangey-Yellow + Bluish-Purple, or Greenish-Yellow + Reddish-Purple

I say “theoretically” because it’s never that simple, is it? Sometimes a single-pigment complement does not exist (these are natural pigments after all), and sometimes the mixing complement is not quite the same as the visual complement. Still, it’s a starting place. 

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